Well, there you have it BOC. 

 

For months you have been discussing the reasoning for the higher interest rates to be based on consumer spending. From fuel to groceries and housing, the goal with each consecutive interest rate increase was to reduce consumer spending to decrease the demand for goods and services, which in turn would reduce prices.  

 

But with the above decline in activity, how come our prices continue to remain, with no sign of declining anytime soon?

 

This month we dive into numbers for January and look at why our market is positioned to see prices potentially increase before any kind of decline. 

 

THE NUMBERS


In the month of January, we saw the number of listings increase by 9% to 2,613 from December, while the number of sales decreased by 1% to 1,203 transactions. This activity has reduced our listings to sold absorption rate by 4% to 46%. 

 

Compare to this same time last year, the number of listings has only dropped 8% while the number of sales tumbled by 68%. 

 

This significant drop in buyer activity can be directly attributed to the increases in the interest rates that we saw all through 2021 along with other factors that we discuss below. 

 

MEDIAN PRICES – JANUARY 2023




In January, pricing increased across the segments except for apartments. With increases ranging from 4-5% per segment, the cost of homes in the Calgary area continues to increase.  

 

Pricing is now hovering around the same levels of May and June of last year for single-family homes. 

 

The key statistic to keep in mind from the above chart is the pricing for attached, townhomes, and apartments as all three of these segments are now seeing higher pricing now than last year. 

 

Townhomes alone have seen a significant jump to a median price of $530,000, which is the highest it has been in the last year. 

 

The segments that are more affordable are now where buyers with today’s rates are forced to look at due to their reduction in purchasing power. 

 

THE BREAKDOWN

 

Although interest rate increases have been used to deter consumer spending in most segments, with housing the issue remains that if buyers would like to purchase a home, they need a seller on the other end to want to sell. 

 

Builders can’t bring their products to market instantaneously and need 9-12 months to do so. But even to do that, they need to have a buyer already committed to funding the build before construction starts. 

 

In addition to this, the BOC also caused this issue of low inventory now when they promoted in 2020 and 2021 that interest rates would remain low for the foreseeable future. Most homeowners during this time either cashed out and sold their property to enjoy great returns or took the savvier route and renewed their mortgage at record low rates and have them now fixed for 5 years. 

 

Would you sell your home if your fixed 5-year rate is currently 1.7%? – Not Likely!

 

So we are now left with a time of extremely low inventory in the market, right rates eating into buyer purchasing power, and a bunch of uncertainty about the Bank of Canada’s monetary policy and if continued rate hikes should be expected. 

 

But even with all of these points about low inventory was not considered. The residential market only works if buyers and sellers can make moves based on their needs. 

 

We are not just speaking about new buyers that are looking to purchase their first home. This reduction in inventory and higher rates also affects sellers and buyers that might have wanted to move up from their apartment or townhome to a single-family home. 

 

For example, a family of four that now need a home office environment cannot live comfortably in a townhouse or apartment. But because they will need to compete for their next home and pay a premium to do so, will decide to defer their purchase. 

 

But the question then remains, will pricing return to a point where they can afford their next home?

 

The BOC stated in their last increase that they plan to remain steady on the rate hikes for this year. However, they did leave the door open for more increases should the economy not trend the way they are hoping. 

 

But if it does, and the 5-year bond market tends to agree, we could potentially start to see rates come down in 2023. 

 

If this happens, purchasing power increases for buyers, which will lead more sellers to enter the market to again get the most of their investment and will be able to find their next home with a lower cost of borrowing. 

 

When these sellers and buyers are staying put, their purchase is taken out of the market, but so is their potential listing and sale. 

 

And herein lies the issue of why pricing has not declined to the hopes of the BOC and those skeptics in the market that feel a crash is inevitable.

 

Unlike energy or grocery costs, housing prices are directly tied to individual owners and builders who have a lot more at stake to make a move now, more than any time before. 

 

THANK YOU!

 

I hope you found this post helpful. I’d love your support to continue to keep doing these updates with your feedback as well as if you could share it with friends and family. 

 

Thank you again for your time as always. I truly appreciate it. Please feel free to call/text me at my office (587) 871-5532 or shoot me an email back at aly@calgaryareahomes.ca, I hope we can chat soon. 

 

Take care! 


...

Since the significant drop in the real estate market activity in April, which saw a decline in market absorption rates of 88% to 67% over a single month, we have been seeing steady declines each month in the number of listings that are sold in the Calgary residential market. 


That all changed in October. 


AGGREGATED ABSORPTION RATES – CALGARY

 

In the month of October, we saw declines on both sides of the equation. If you recall, the absorption rate is determined by taking the number of sales in the month and dividing that by the number of available listings. 

In October, this rate rose 5% to sit at 45%. 


Meaning that for nearly every 2 homes for sale in Calgary, one has been purchased this month. 


This is an increase from our lowest point of September of 40%, which we discussed in previous breakdowns as a seasonal effect due to more people enjoying the summer and travelling. Generally, the summer months are singled out as the months with the lowest activity. 


Now let’s break down how these absorption rates can tell us what is really happening with our real estate market. 


In the month of October, we saw the number of listings decline by 14% while the number of sales decline by 2% month over month. When listings are lower than sales, that means we are in a scarcity market where the replenishment of new inventory cannot cater to the demand of buyers, leading to higher absorption rates and as we will see a bit later, higher prices. 


Year over year, our inventory has shrunk by 24% while buyers purchasing homes has shrunk by 18%. Shrinking inventory once again outpaces shrinking sales. 


You might be asking yourself, “he’s using the word shrink a lot, maybe other things like price are also shrinking?”


And that is the case from our highs that I mentioned earlier but is not the case when we look at the median pricing across the segments in Calgary. 


MEDIAN PRICING – CALGARY – ALL SEGMENT


Detached


Attached


Townhomes


Apartments


Price ($)


582,000


468,750


335,000


250,000


Variance (M/M)


2% increase


1% decrease


2% increase


2% increase



As the above shows, in all but one segment, our pricing has increased month over month. 


If we isolate the detached market, we are currently sitting at a price point that is like where we were in July of this year. 


This recovery in price is due to the faster-paced decline of inventory in our market and our inability to recover the level of inventory available for today’s buyers. 


The attached segment has seen declines, but this is not a significant one. Over the last three months, the price for attached homes has remained close. This segment is the in-between and is usually only of interest to buyers that cannot purchase a detached home or are wanting to upgrade from a Townhome. Whereas both of those segments have a buyer for them. 


Now that we have looked at the numbers, what do we extract from this data to gauge where the market is right now?


THE BREAKDOWN


The rising cost of borrowing is affecting many that are entering the market. However, the sentiment that I’m seeing in my business is most buyers are still going the variable rate route. They understand that these types of interest rates cannot be maintained for a long period of time. 


As the rates continue to increase, the discount that lenders provide for these new mortgages are fixed, for the term of the mortgage. Therefore, buyers are willing to take the short-term hit on managing the mortgage for the benefit of finding a home now. 


The appetite for buyers to find a home in all segments is still very strong when the cost of rent continues to rise. Mortgage payments are more stable, are for longer terms, and allow homeowners to build equity in their homes. Whereas rents are short-term, unpredictable, and don’t allow the tenant to have a stake in the value of the home. 


But the issue of rising interest rates is giving sellers a cause to pause and reconsider their situation. Most sellers are either looking to sell their home to retire and downsize or move up to accommodate changes in their lives, for example, more space for kids. The issue for both of these categories is that there is a shortage of inventory to downsize to, and the added financial obligation of a bigger mortgage to move up into their next home. 


There are also many sellers that renewed their mortgages last year and have an incredible rate that they will not want to mess with for the next 4 years. 


When sellers are spooked, the inventory levels drop. 


The other issue we are seeing right now is around the first-time home buyers that are having to purchase with 5-20% down and need to leverage significantly more to purchase their first home. 


Each time the rate increase, the prime rate increases, leading to the qualifying rate increasing, dropping the purchasing power of today’s buyers. 


But when purchasing power drops, and prices are rising, there is a disconnect in the market that is leading to the market we are currently in. 


So what can you do about it?


BUYERS


It is a difficult time now to purchase a property, especially single-family. But if you are able to afford a single-family home for around $580,000, there might be other options for you to still get a home you enjoy and build generational wealth for you and your family. 


Most buyers I have been working with are very conscious of their budgets. In fact, It is a whole section of my buyer consultation with them that we discuss the budget and what works for them. 


The reason I’m emphasizing this is that you have an opportunity to purchase an attached home, townhome, or even apartment for much less. You also can put more money down and can pay that property off sooner while you live there. 


What this does is create a property that you can refinance to leverage for a second property while renting it out. Or keep it in your family down the road for generations after you to enjoy and benefit from. 


It might not be ideal now, but when inventory levels increase, the opportunity will be present for you to find that perfect home for you, but also give you the opportunity of a portfolio of properties for your family to enjoy. 


Just my two cents ??


SELLERS


Upsizing right now might not be the right idea. Between builders having labour and material issues and the rising cost of mortgages, taking on more of a financial burden is not the best solution. However, if you absolutely need to make a move for a growing family or relocation for a job, for example, it is your market. You will still be able to get bids on your home, depending on what segment you are in. 


There is still a very strong appetite in the market for your property and you should receive a great return on your property. If you’d like to chat about how we can achieve that, send me an email and let’s connect. 

Downsizing buyers, this is still your time. Your single-family home for years where your family has grown and moved out of is still in great demand. But you need a plan. 


If you are wanting to move into a bungalow, for example, this is a bit harder to do with the market we are in. But I have a plan that I’ve worked with several sellers that can assist you with this. Feel free to reach out and we can discuss your options. 


But if your plan is to downsize into a condo/apartment near family or a church, this market is still in your favour. You can sell and purchase while also having the financial freedom you deserve in a time with so much uncertainty. 


There are still great opportunities for both buyers and sellers in this market. I hope we can connect and I can help you find the solution that works best for you! 


THANK YOU!


Thank you as always for your time. I know there are many outlets out there where you can get market information, and I appreciate the opportunity to be the one you can trust and rely on. 


If there is anything I can do for your real estate or mortgage needs, I hope you know it would absolutely be my pleasure, and I would love to connect. Please feel free to send me an email anytime. 


Thank you, take care!


Aly

...

I'm a bit late to the game to bring this month's market update, my apologies about that. 


But I think when analyzing the market, it's important to look at the holistic view of how different components of the market have been applying pressure. 


Personally, in my business, I haven't seen a slowdown in the market. This past month alone I've had to compete on two offers I have written (both we won ??) and have had the great fortune of working with many buyers. 


So when I read articles from the Financial Post or national news outlets advising the public that the markets are continuing to decline, I feel it's really important to dissect what is really happening and share what I've been seeing from both the stats for the month and my personal experience. 


So without further adieu, let's dive into this month's breakdown of how the market has been reacting to the last change of an increase in 75 basis points to the overnight rate by the BOC (Bank of Canada). 


Aggregated Absorption Rates - Calgary

 


This past month, the absorption rate (the rate at which active listings have been sold) decreased by 3% from the previous month to 40%. with two out of five homes currently selling in today's market, we are still performing stronger than at this same time last year (36%). 


It's also important that the BOC overnight rate at this same time last year was 3% lower than this past month. 


Month over month, the number of new listings has declined by 7% while the number of new sales has dropped a significant 21%. 


Year over year, the number of listings has dropped 26% while the number of sales has also dropped 13%. 


This decline in activity is a bit predictable this time of the year when looking at the trend of the past two years in the above chart. In both 2020 and 2021, we saw that the time between July and September was the lowest time for market activity throughout the year (excluding March and April 2020 due to the pandemic). 


This drop in activity can be attributed to both the higher rates, and also seasonality of fewer sellers listing their homes and fewer buyers taking the time to search for homes in the summer. 


Not to mention the fact that this summer saw most of the pandemic restrictions ease to allow for more travel. 


While market activity is an important statistic to look at, does it equate to what most buyers are hoping for, a decrease in the prices of properties? 


The quick answer? Not at much as you would like! Let's take a look. 


Median Prices Changes


The median single-family detached home price in Calgary saw a decline from a month ago by 1%. From the high point of this year (February - $625,000), we have seen a decline in pricing of 9%. 


Attached or duplex homes saw no significant change in their value, currently $472,000. 


Condominium townhomes (row) dropped 3% from a month ago and currently sit at $330,000 while apartments saw an increase in the median price of 3% to $246,000. 


With activity and absorption rates down, in the same window of the last three months, we have small changes to the prices across all segments. This is important to note since during this time there were two significant BOC rate hikes. 


While rates are continuing to hurt all homeowners from those with new purchases to those that have a variable rate and fixed payment mortgage, a significant amount of the changes we are seeing in price can be attributed to the seasonality of our market, which seems to be following the same trend of activity. 


October 26th is Coming, What Next?


On October 26th, we will have one of the last two interest rate announcements from the BOC this year. It is speculated that another increase will come since our economy in Canada did still grow in the month of September. 


If this change does happen, and an increase does come, what does that mean for our local market? 


This has been a question I have been fielding from my clients and my answer remains the same with these increases. 


The interest rate changes are a national change, our pricing here in Calgary is local. We continue to be one of the lowest-cost markets in the country and more and more people are seeing this. Migration to our city continues to be high. 


You've probably felt that there are more people in Calgary than a year ago. It was recently reported that the traffic activity alone in Calgary has increased by 25% from this same time last year. 


I've had clients move from Ontario and Quebec to Calgary for a number of reasons. Here are just a few:

  • Lower cost of living

  • Reduced debt loads from mortgages

  • Policy changes in Quebec by legislation

  • The ability to work remotely.

  • Relocation of a company to Calgary

And the list keeps growing. 


Those that are feeling the pinch of higher interest rates in Ontario, might look at their situation and think a condo for me in Toronto might be $700,000, while I can find one in Calgary for $246,000 and make that change to better their financial situation. 


Do the higher rates affect our market? Most definitely! But will it be here for a long time? It cannot because it not only slows our housing market but a number of other industries that need the lower rates to return to make their businesses profitable once again. 


My business has continued to be busy these past few months and if you speak to my clients you will see how hard it is still to find a home to purchase, even though they are more affordable than other markets. 


Until the supply issue simmers down, we can continue to see our market remain this way for a bit longer. Lower activity means fewer people are in the market to either buy or sell a home, which makes the market stagnant, causing for little change to the status quo. 


Thank You!


Thank you for taking the time to check out my update. I hope you found it useful. I do still maintain the apartment absorption rates analysis if you'd like to see that. Just shoot me an email and I can get it to you. 


Feel free to reach out with any questions you have, shoot me a text or send me an email at aly@calgaryareahomes.ca or connect with me on social (IG: @alyjanmohamed). 


Take care and I hope we can connect soon! 

...

August is such a wonderful time of the year, isn't it? School is out but not too far away, giving parents a bit more leverage over kids that are enjoying their summer a bit too much :) 


But it's also a great time for vacations, relaxation, and just taking time to enjoy with family. 


Everything just seems to go on hold...and the real estate market isn't any different this past month. 


The looming rumours of interest rate hikes riddled the month to scare off buyers and investors along with giving sellers cause for pause as they wait for the next BOC (Bank of Canada) rate announcement. 


But the market did not stop, it just didn't sway one way or another in August. 


Let's dive in and look at how the month played out and where we might be heading with today's latest changes from the BOC. 


Aggregated Absorption Rates - Calgary



In the month of August, we saw the absorption rate increase to 42%, which is a 1% increase from last month. This rate was driven by a decline in the number of listings month over month by 7% and a drop in sales of 5%. 

Because the drop in listings has outpaced the drop in sales, we are seeing fewer listings available for buyers. Seasonal trends along with the cost fears of rate hikes have caused sellers to be hesitant to enter the real estate market. 


For the second straight month, we have seen the number of listings drop 26% from the same time last year while sales have only dropped 1%. 


With the exception of the extremely hot months of February and March, the number of buyers in the market for a home has been fairly consistent year over year. Indicating that the buyers that have been affected by the rate hikes have been predominately investors. 


Investors that are relying more on lines of credit feel the pinch more with changes in interest rates as those products usually carry a premium to prime whereas mortgages are either fixed rates or on a variable with a discount to the prime rate.


As the investors start to shy away from purchasing property in Calgary, this caused our market to continue to cool from April to now. 


The same story can be seen with apartments.  


Absorption Rates - Apartments - Calgary




In the month of August, we saw the absorption rate climb back up to 36%. This is driven by a decline in the number of listings by 9% from last month, while we had an increase in sales of 2%. 

Considering the relatively low cost of apartments in Calgary, they are still very much a segment of the market that is attracting investors and homeowners alike. 


Investors see the upside with respect to increased rents and cash flow for a low cost of investment into a property and buyers see the cost of ownership at par or better than renting the same type of home. 


Although this segment is cooler than the aggregated absorption, it is performing significantly better than in the past two years, which were 18% (2021) and 13% (2020). 


As the cost of servicing a mortgage continues to increase, these types of properties will continue to be attractive to buyers who are being squeezed out of townhome and duplex ownership but would like to still either buy their first investment property or have a property they can own now and leverage later when the market improves. 


The Median Price Per Segment



Median Price


Detached


Attached


Townhome


Apartment